VIDIKRON Vision 40 DLP PROJECTOR
By GRANT CLAUSER
Yes, friends, Vidikron is back, though the products that brand has been formerly associated with are long gone, replaced with updated technology and a new distribution strategy.
With projectors like the Vision One, Vidikron, formerly an Italian company, earned praise even from director Martin Scorsese. Yet the company fell on sour times, and the name seemed doomed to disappear. About a year ago, the revered brand was acquired by one of its fiercest rivals, Runco International. This is the first Runco-produced product to bear the Vidikron brand.
While the old Vidikron was known for large, celestially priced three-gun CRT projectors, the new Vidikron is firmly in the digital age—its line of new products is strictly DLP. This particular Vidikron, while still a high-priced piece of gear, is targeted at mid-level home theater consumers (in a category where mid-level means $9,000).
The Vision Model 40 is basic-looking white box with the usual controls located on both the rear and top (for easy reach when ceiling-mounted upside-down). Its specs rate it for screens up to 96 inches. The inputs are pretty comprehensive, too. There are single composite and S-Video inputs, a set of RGB-HV (red, blue, green-vertical, horizontal) inputs with sturdy BNC-style connectors that also double as high definition or progressive component inputs, a single DVI input with HDCP (high definition copy protection) and a second set of interlaced-only component inputs with RCA connectors. Progressive scan DVD players and high definition tuners get connected through the BNC or DVI inputs.
With DLP home theater projectors from dozens of manufacturers now in the market, many listing nearly the same basic specifications, it's difficult to tell them apart on paper and a challenge for dealers who want to offer a distinctive product. However, Runco has a history of putting its own special spin on technology to get the most performance out. On this Vidikron, the company added a few tweaks, including what it calls "Cat's Eye" optics to enhance black levels, and a nine-point white balance system to aid grayscale tracking. Like most projectors on the market, it has a built-in video processor with 3:2 pulldown to fix errors commonly found on film-based material. There are also two lens options: the standard short-throw lens, which I reviewed, and a long-throw lens for large rooms.